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Muslim Contribution in Hydro Geography

Muslim Contribution in Hydro Geography

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Muslim Contribution in Hydro-geography is research based assignment prepared during session 2004-2006 in which Old Muslim Geographers contributed their work to get new dimensions for new hydro-geography.
Muslim Contribution in Hydro-geography is research based assignment prepared during session 2004-2006 in which Old Muslim Geographers contributed their work to get new dimensions for new hydro-geography.

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Published by: M.IMRAN on Nov 21, 2010
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Assignment on


Muslim Contribution To Hydro geography

lubmitted to:

Miss Maheen

luhmlttctl by:

Muhammad Imran Roll no. II

M.Sc. Geography Part-II

University Of The Punjab . Lahore


1. Introduction


2. Muslim Geographers _

Al-Biruni l

Al-Masudi 2

Al-Idrisi 2

AI- Maqdisi 2

Hamadullah Mustawfi 3

Avicenna or Ibn-e-Sina 3

Al-Qazwini 4

Ibn-Hawqal 4

Ibn-Fadlan 4

Ibn-Khurdad bin 5

3. Summary 5

4. References 6


Though Geographical Knowledge almost died out in Christendom it was kept alive by the Arabs I II lit I ~III 11111 g sographers. The geographical knowledge of the Greeks and the Romans passed to the Arabs who not only I" I I Ii II hu: also improved upon it in certain fields, adding new knowledge and new concepts of their own. Thus, the

III 11III .111111 ICt' 'St:; not only to their translations from the Greeks but also to their reports of their own travelers. As a result

II, I, Id II 1IIIIril more accurate knowledge about the world than the Christian Scholars had. So, the Muslim Contribution in II Ii, I I II ! '1',1 Iphy is remarkable.

The excellent work on hydrology has done by the Muslim Geographers in ancient

1111' III III the Muslim period. There are many geographers whom worked much on hydro geography but most important are

! 1111.11 J


lit- hliH rightly been called one of the greatest scientists of all times. He holds a unique position among Muslim Scholars. IlL' wns a scientist, historian, geologist and Mineralogist.

II II,' wrote his great geography of India (KITABUL HIND) in 1030.

III III II is book, he recognized the significance of the rounded stones and he found them in the alluvial deposits south of II i rnalayas. The stones became rounded, he pointed out, as they were rolled along in the torrential mountain streams.

Ill' dearly understood the phenomena of tides and explained how the increase and decrease in ebb and flow develop pVl'iodically and parallel with the moon's phases and he adds that such things are known to the people living near the I ca-shores.

V Ell .h time the moon rises and sets, the water of the ocean rises in floods so as to cover the place, and later, when the moon reaches the meridian of noon and midnight, the water recedes in the ebb.

V I Ilc wrote numerous books and dissertations of which a large number dealt with geographical matters including measurement and determination of latitudes and longitudes, roundity of the earth and its movements, natural springs, phenomena of tides, precious stones, geology, meteorology and climate.

~ III.
t IV.
VII. (2)


Al-Masudi who had travelled over the Muslim world from Spain t China is famous as a historian and a geographer.

He is one of the most versatile writers of the to" Century and is called encyclopaedist of oriental Geography of his age.

His 'Meadows of Gold' includes much geographical information. He discusses his information and ideas on Physical Geography. He has given his own map of the world.

Masudi explains the ebb and flow of tides as well as the boars. He points out that in one of his important works 'Akhbar az-man' which consisted of thirty parts, he had discussed the origin of Seas, their extent, Salinity, Tidal movements and Cycle of River erosion.

He proceeds to give a discourse on the stonny nature of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and describes the blowing of the monsoon and the peculiar storms of those seas.


I. Al-Idrisi is perhaps the best-known Muslim geographer in the west.

II. He travelled widely in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

III. At the instance of King Roger II of Sicily, he wrote a treatise 'Amusement for him who desires to travel round the world' also known as 'Book of Roger'.

IV. He worked on Oceans and Landscapes. He also corrects the courses of numerous rivers, including the Danube and the Niger, and the position of several major mountain ranges.

V. He also, made a celestial sphere and presented the known world in the form of a disc.



AI-Maqdisi, also sometimes known as Muqaddasi, was a native of Palestine and was born in Jerusalem. His fame as a geographer is widely recognized in the west.


III. He seems to have a great insight into the literature of the lands, which he visited. I V. He worked on lands, hills, mountains, rivers, soils and water.

Y. He considered the earth to be nearly spherical in shape, divided into two equal parts by the equator, and having 360 degrees of circumstance, with 90 degrees from the equator to each pole.

V I. He conceived of the southern hemisphere as mostly consisting of water and the northern as having the concentration of land.

Y II. Two copies of his work are available, one is the Constantinople manuscript and the other is in Berlin.


I. Mustawfi's work 'Nuzhat AI-Qulub' is of special significance, because it was written in Persian and pictures the world ofIslam in the East, after the tornado of the Tartar destruction had almost spent its fury.

II. He wrote the book 'Nuzhat AI-Qulub' in 1340 A.D.

III. Nuzhat AI-Qulub gives detailed accounts of the varied geographical aspects, physical and human of all parts of the Islamic world.

J V. There is a comprehensive account of the seven seas and the islands therein. Japan, Java and Sumatra are mentioned among others.

V. He also speaks of the change in the course of the Oxus in his own times, which diverted the river from the Caspian to the Aral Sea.


I. The other contributor to knowledge of landforms was Ibn-Sina, who took advantage of his opportunities to observe mountain streams in the act of cutting down their valleys in the mountain of Central Asia.

11. He formulated the idea that mountains were being constantly worn down and that the highest peaks occurred where the rocks were especially resistant to erosion.


III. Mountains are raised up, he pointed out, and are immediately exposed to this process of wearing down, a process that goes on slowly but steadily.

I V . A vicenna also noted the presence of fossils in the rocks in high mountains, which he interpreted as examples of nature's effort to, create living plants or animals that had ended in failure.


I, His 'Cosmography' remained popular not only for centuries during the middle Ages but down to the modem times.

II, lt consists of two parts, (1) dealing with heavenly things, (2) terrestrial.

1110 It also contains a great deal that is purely geographical, as it describes the more important mountains, islands, seas, rivers and springs.


10 I-Ie travelled around the Muslim world and Africa.

II. He wrote a book 'Book of Ways and Provinces' which gives a geographical description of the Muslim countries, illustrating every region by a map.

III. He gives the details about regions and their facts in his book.


I. He is one of the earliest travller-geographer, whose accounts ofthe Volga-Caspian regions are greatly valued.

II. He also worked on rivers and oceans and their action.




III. Another work of considerable importance by Ibn-Fadlan is his 'Risalali' (Travel Book), which has recently been discovered by prof. Zaki Validi at Mashhad.

I (I •.

Ibn-Khurdad bin

II' wrote a book 'on Routes and Kingdoms'.

II. II . provided the information about trade routs and different countries.

III II ' gives the geographical facts about rivers, mountains, springs and coastal areas.

I V 11(.) expounded his scientific ideas and they were related to Ptolemy's ideas.


1\111 11111 (; '0 rraphers have done a good job in the field of Physical geography especially in Hydro geography. They explained III I H'IN lind ligures about Physical science and they also increased the much more accurate knowledge in hydro geography. 1111 V 1',11'01' several books and treatises in their times or in Muslim Period. They expounded the scientific ideas. We can see III II work in the following points.

II Tiley introduced the Phenomena of tides, Roundity of the earth and Cycle of River erosion. LI 'I'll 'y 111 asured and determined the latitudes and longitudes.

LI Tiley worked much on Precious stones, geology, meteorology, climate and Oriental Geography. LI 'I'lley worked on Origin of Seas, their extent, Salinity.

I 'l'h 'Y explained the stonny nature ofthe Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and they defined the blowing of Illu monsoon.

II They explained the change in the course of the Oxus in his own times, which diverted the river from the Caspian to Iii . !\rat Sea.

I I 'I'll' conceived of the southern hemisphere as mostly consisting of water and the northern as having the concentration (II' land.

I 'I'licy introduced the idea of 'Weathering' or 'Constantly worn down'.


References {Books}Error! Bookmark not defined.

I. Ahmad, Nafis, 1947, "Muslim Contribution To Geography", Lahore.

2. Ahmad, K. S., 1964, "Geography Through The Ages", Karachi.

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